Flowing through the heart of Chattanooga are the winding, beautiful waters of the Tennessee River. It’s home to famous rowing regattas like the Head of the Hooch, and is well known as an incredible whitewater rafting destination. However, increasingly, locals and visitors alike are discovering that there’s more to the Tennessee River. From canoeing and kayaking to stand-up paddle boarding, a paddle along the Tennessee River is a great way to see Chattanooga’s most beautiful and iconic features. Book your room at our luxurious Bed and Breakfast on Lookout Mountain, and start planning your next paddling adventure on the beautiful Tennessee River.
Paddle in Chattanooga
The stretch of the Tennessee River near Chattanooga, which stretches from the Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area to Nickajack Lake, was designated a National Scenic River Trail in 2002. Along this 50 mile stretch of river, there are some truly stunning places to paddle, including the 26-mile segment through the Tennessee River Gorge called the Grand Canyon of Tennessee. Rental equipment is available at Rock Creek Outfitters, L2, and River Canyon Kayak. Some of the most popular paddling areas in the greater Chattanooga area include:
Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area
The Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area is a great place for beginners to try their hand at paddling. The waters here aren’t riddled with strong currents and are plenty shallow, which makes it a great place to test your balance on a stand-up paddle board (SUP).
McClellan (Audubon) Island
Audubon Island is a 19-acre wildlife preserve in the middle of the Tennessee River. This beautiful park-like island is a great place to stop and rest as you paddle down the river, and is located just upstream from the iconic Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge in Chattanooga. While you’re there, enjoy the 1.5 miles of hiking trails, and see how many different species of plants and animals you can identify.
South Tennessee River
If it’s the incredible scenery of the Tennessee River that you’re after, then you’ll want to head to the south side of the river. From here, you’ll paddle under the Walnut Street Bridge before passing the towering limestone cliffs of Chattanooga’s Bluff View Arts District. High on the cliffs you’ll see the impressive architecture of the Hunter Museum of American Art; a sight best enjoyed from the waters of the Tennessee River.
Tennessee River Gorge
Coolidge Park is a great place to launch if you’re wanting to take a brief tour of Chattanooga’s most famous places before heading into what is arguably the most scenic stretch of the entire Tennessee River. This paddle will lead you through downtown, where you can enjoy the “cannon” water fountains at the Tennessee Aquarium. Shortly after passing through downtown Chattanooga, you’ll round Moccasin Bend and enter the stunning Tennessee River Gorge. This impressive gorge is lined with trees and is a popular place to spot Bald Eagles.
There are also a variety of other interesting creeks and tributaries around Chattanooga in which you can paddle. Popular creeks include Lookout Mountain Creek and West Chickamauga Creek. No matter where you choose to paddle, you’ll be rewarded with iconic views of Chattanooga and the incredible scenery of the Tennessee River Valley. Afterwards, relax at our luxurious Chattanooga Bed and Breakfast, the premiere lodging choice in the greater Chattanooga area. Book your room with us today.